An update is woefully overdue. Life has simply been so abundant recently (I don't like that "busy" word!) that I haven't gotten one out.
Fishing in Alaska
|Sunset on Bristol Bay|
Thanks in large part to the prayers of so many, I had the most adventure-heavy and spiritually abundant Summer I think I've ever had. Absolutely incredible, despite the physical challenges of only sleeping a few hours at a time. God met me powerfully and consistently out on the water amidst the thousands upon thousands of salmon, and the way I've been describing it is that I was "stewed" in grace for weeks on end.
Dreams, visions, prayer, worship, the Word - this Summer held it all as far as connecting with and being impacted by this great God. And all while getting paid good money and having the experience of a lifetime! I have memories that I'll treasure forever, and I made enough money to pay for third-year tuition, rent through May, and even a number of ministry trips with my mentor, Steve Backlund.
|With two kings - we mostly caught sockeye|
I'll just briefly mention one very significant encounter I had with God that impacts this next year: it boils down to something like this - I feel I'm meant to spend time building relationships with Catholics and learning about the Catholic faith. I'm on the very beginnings of that, but it's already been a rich experience to start attending some masses, meeting people, doing some reading, and building those bridges of understanding.
The transition period between Alaska and school mostly consisted of recouping and relational time - with some of my family (Jordan, Marisa, and my adorable nephew Magnus), as well as good time with Hilary and her family, spread across Washington and Oregon.
Coming back to the fullness of life in the continental US after time in Alaska - with its hard work but simplicity and disconnection from technology - always takes a little getting used to (and extra bits of fighting to keep my internal peace!), but I think I'm getting there.
I also had the opportunity to attend a weekend missions "huddle" in Washington over labor-day weekend. A great time of connection, vision-casting, and passion-raising for reaching the least-reached. It felt like a great first step in the direction that I feel God calling me to go after Bethel.
And now we're in the swing of school! It's a lot, with all that my third-year position with Steve entails (he's a busy dude!), spending time learning about Catholicism and interacting with Catholics, trying to work part-time with my brother's business, Pixel Scrapper, and continuing to build my relationship with Hilary. But it's good - and growing me to be better at holding onto my peace, prioritizing the most significant things, and sticking to boundaries.
|The Backlund team (without the Backlunds, lol, and without|
Ash, one of their staff members, but plus Candace Johnson, wife
of Eric Johnson, the senior pastor at Bethel)
I feel like I'm right where God would have me, and that feeling is worth a lot. It's a big year in Steve's world - both for his and Wendy's ministry, Igniting Hope, as they're launching a big new focus of their ministry called Beliefs Training, and for Global Legacy (his primary role at Bethel) and transitions in that world and with the Bethel Leaders Network (I acknowledge that these names probably don't mean much to you - so I'll try to speak of them minimally).
My day-to-day looks like a lot of meetings, spiritual-growth practices, helping with menial but necessary tasks for Global Legacy, research and programming (I'm building an app for Steve's ministry), and generally following Steve around as he ministers, stewing in his messages about joy, hope, and mind-renewal as much as possible. We also have class for the third-year students, but that's only once a week.
Steve's reputation is not with out basis. I'm already experiencing a change in myself and my life from being around him and all that he has to share, and I'm excited to see where I'll be at the end of the year.
Steve travels to minister as much as anyone in the Bethel environment. Travelling with him is one of the biggest parts of our year, as it allows us quality time with him, the chance to observe how he does things up close, and where we primarily receive opportunity to step out and minister ourselves.
Just this last weekend I went on a trip to the Detroit area in Michigan with Steve, Wendy, and a couple others from our team. It was a powerful time of witnessing what God was doing in a part of the local body. And ministering with Steve was incredible - I've never felt simultaneously so empowered to really go for it, and yet protected and safe underneath his compassion and experience.
|Not a great photo - but Steve and Wendy ministering|
together in Monroe, Michigan
My next trip will be in October, where I'll go with Steve to a conference in Mexico City. Then in November I'll get the opportunity to go with him to Germany, Austria and Slovakia (all a part of the same trip). So far I've managed to fund all these trips out of pocket from what I made in the Summer, which is incredible.
This weekend in Michigan was the first time I saw almost immediate fruit from prophetic words that I released. At the Friday night meeting I released a word about God showing himself as provider through financial gifts, and a couple received a financial gift before the end of the night (they attached such incredible faith to the word as it was released)!
A similar one was that I released a word to a specific woman that God was restoring lost relationships in her life (released on Saturday night), and on Sunday night she ran up to me to tell me that even in the 24 hours that had passed God had restored relationship to her.
It's incredible to just get to be a small part of what God wants to do, and to have the encouragement that I'm hearing from the Lord.
On Saturday night one of our team members prayed for a woman who had multiple physical issues in her body due to a car wreck. She hadn't slept well in years, and he prophesied that she would have a full night's sleep that night. She went home, slept all through the night, and her body was almost entirely restored by the time she woke up.
Thank you all for your continued support! I'd love to hear from any of you I haven't been able to connect with recently - drop me an email or Facebook message with what you're up to.
If you're looking for ways you can be praying for me in the days ahead, some great ones would be -
- That I would continue to grow in peace
- That I would take hold of all my team and Steve has to offer this year
- For relational wisdom as Hilary and I continue to walk deeper in relationship
- For focus and insight as I work on this app for Steve
May your spirit and mind and heart and body be ever-aware of the incredible nearness of the King.